47 Percent of Consumers Believe Companies Create Fake Reviews Online
A study from Trustpilot has revealed an alarming distrust among consumers when it comes to brands removing or censoring legitimate consumer reviews across the internet, with four in ten (42%) saying they are very concerned about their freedom of speech.
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The Critical role of reviews in Internet Trust report into the state of online trust highlights consumers’ concerns that online reviews are being tampered with by brands (71%) and that this is causing them to waste money they can’t afford to (45%).
While the findings show that consumers are increasingly reliant on customer reviews – with nine in ten (90%) saying they read reviews before buying online, and the average consumer spending $475 each year on purchases that were influenced or informed by an online review – they are also wary of their legitimate feedback being manipulated by companies.
In fact, 47% of consumers said they believe that companies are manipulating their image by creating fake reviews online, while a further 40% believe they are doing so by deleting negative reviews.
“The research is a clear sign that consumers are very aware of being manipulated in this era of fake news and distrust in institutions. When it comes to their interactions with companies online, they want to know that their feedback is being heard, and that this feedback is helping other consumers to see the full picture of a brand,” said Peter Mühlmann, founder and CEO of Trustpilot.
Consumers Trust Friends and Family First
Consumer review websites ranked second for trust and third for their perception of providing honest product and service reviews; only family and friends rank higher in both categories.
Reflecting this demand for a more transparent, honest review process, the research also showed that six-in-ten consumers (60%) say they’d stop using platforms if they knew that they were censoring reviews.
READ MORE: Trustpilot Launches New Feature To Bring Further Transparency To Online Reviews
The research was carried out in December 2019 by Canvas8 with 2,000 respondents in the UK, 2,000 in France and 2,000 in the US, and also includes qualitative research and insights from leading global academics.
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Editorial Note: This post is from a Company Press Release and may have been modified for clarity.